The World’s Oldest Whiskey Is About To Be Sold At Auction – Periódico Página100 – Noticias de popayán y el Cauca

The World’s Oldest Whiskey Is About To Be Sold At Auction

This summer, the world’s oldest known whiskey is going under the hammer: a legendary bottle of Old Ingledewbourbon. If you want a chance at owning it you’ll be able to put in a bid with Skinner Auctioneers between June 22 through June 30. Exactly how old is the liquid, itself? Well, nobody knows for sure since its comes from a time before modern labeling practices had been established. But scientific analysis affords a high degree of probability that it entered the glass sometime between 1763 and 1803. Pretty historic hooch, to be sure.

Even more so when you consider its chain of custody. In a press release, Skinner Auctioneers states that the bourbon—which is estimated to sell for $20,000 to $40,000—was purchased by John Pierpoint Morgan (yes, that Morgan) during one of his frequent visits to Georgia in the late 1800s. At the time, it would have been stored in demijohn: an ovular glass vessel usually measuring around 15 gallons in volume. Commercial bottling had only just begun in 1870 with Old Forester in Louisville, Kentucky. The practice had yet to become widespread.

So, Morgan paid a visit to a specialty grocer in LaGrange to have several decanters-worth of the liquid bottled. His son Jack eventually ended up with a portion of the stock, gifting it to personalities no less prominent than US Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman.

Another recipient was James Byrnes. While never occupying the Oval Office, he wasn’t exactly a slouch, serving as congressman, senator, and Supreme Court justice before being tapped by FDR to join his cabinet for WWII. After the war, Byrnes returned to his home state of South Carolina where he was elected governor in 1951. Around this time he re-gifted Morgan’s bottle to his close friend and drinking buddy, Francis Drake. But Drake and his progeny were scotch drinkers. So for three successive generations they kept a cork in it, sampling nary a sip.

the world's oldest whiskey
The label explains the origins of this 150-year-old bottled whiskey. SKINNER AUCTIONEERS

When it entered the hands of Skinner, the auction house was tasked with authenticating its lineage. For this, they turned to their resident fine spirits specialist, Joseph Hyman. He (very carefully) extracted a small sampling of the bourbon and submitted it to scientists at both the University of Georgia and the University of Glasgow for Carbon-14 analysis. The results were met with wonder: a distillation date sometime between the Revolutionary War and the Whiskey Rebellion.

“I expected a date of roughly 1850,” Hyman admits. “The age was a shocking surprise, albeit a pleasant one, for both myself and the scientist. Initially, we were all assuming the ‘distillery’ pre-existed the Civil War as no such distillery was in existence after the war. Archival data about the grocer/merchant Evans & Ragland existing after the war and that it was common to store whiskey in demijohns, we concluded the whiskey was bottled after the [Civil War], having been in such a demijohn for several decades.”

Remember: whiskey only collects ‘age’ as it matures in wooden barrels, not glass. So while it’s impossible to place a specific age-statement on this particular bottle, historical record can confirm that it’s among the oldest distilled whiskey remaining on the planet today. How will that affect the auction price? We’ll just have to wait until the end of June to see.

What we know for sure is that collectors are clamoring for ultra rare whiskies like never before. Just last week in Hong Kong, a set of 5 Bowmore Black scotch bottles distilled in 1964 collected a staggering $563,000. While this is just a single bottle of bourbon, it certainly has quite the story to tell. And someone’s going to pay a serious premium to listen. Check back here after the hammer drops for a final update on how the tale will conclude.

the world's oldest whiskey bottle sitting on the rocks of Giant's Causeway, Ireland
A bottle of Old Ingledew Whiskey, going to auction this June PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: BRAD JAPHE


BY: Brad Japhe is a freelance journalist specializing in food, beverage, and travel.

ILLUSTRATION : Ancient cellars located inside tufa caves. (Photo by: Stefano Tripodi/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group … [+] UNIVERSAL IMAGES GROUP VIA GETTY IMAGES


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